The original coffee table, simply put, is a regular table with its legs cut off to make it lower to the ground. The Japanese already had these short tables figured out a long time ago. But as the Japanese were sitting on the floors with their legs crossed, the coffee table was to be used with a sofa. Its not very clear as to the exact time that the modern term "coffee table" came to use, but some put it around the late 18th century to the early 19th.
Does terminology really matter? Generally no, but it can do if people use the term to you in conversation or even when you are looking for new furniture for your home. However, in general terms it does not matter at all whether your table is described as an accent table or an occasional table. In some cases occasional and accent furniture can be the same - but to say that, the definition of these terms must first be agreed. The term accent should be easy to understand - just like an accent in language, furniture of this type should emphasize a certain style, such as a statue of the jackal-headed god Anubis in an Egyptian-themed room - a home accent need not be furniture!
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